This activity will remind students that no one deserves to be bullied and that everyone has a responsibility to report unkind acts.
- Classroom table
- bulletin board paper
- art supplies,
- paper lunch sacks
Explain to students that the class will put on a puppet show to shed light on the problems associated with bullying. Let them know that in order to create a puppet show you all will need to identify a problem and a solution (or plot); a location (or scene); characters; and props.
First, ask students to define what a bully is to them. After listening to their definitions, ask students why they think some kids bully others. Have them explain how bullying makes the victim feel and perhaps even how the bully might feel after acting out. Write some of the key words, feelings and issues on the board.
Next, have students identify where bullying happens the most at your school (the cafeteria, the playground, in the hallway, etc.). If students discuss more than one location, take a vote by show of hands to determine which setting is most prone to bullying. Write their chosen location on the board.
Discuss with students ways in which they can stop a bully from picking on others. Ask them to explain the difference between tattling and asking an adult for help. Have students discuss the positive and negative outcomes of standing up for someone. Again, write their key words on the board.
As a class, decide on a cast of characters. This should include a main character (protagonist), a "bad guy" (antagonist), and a few supporting characters (perhaps an adult ally, and friends of both the protagonist and antagonist).
Next, create a basic dialogue or script for the puppet show. Using the concepts written on the board from the earlier group discussion on bullying, come up with a plot identifying a problem and a solution. Encourage students to come up with several character responses to each situation. For emerging readers, let students have a chance to narrate the puppet show or to play the roles themselves to interpret what was discussed without written word.
Once you've chosen characters and written a script, divide students into two groups. The first group should be responsible for creating the stage; the second group should be responsible for creating the puppets. Half way through the allotted time, let the groups switch roles so that everyone has a chance to work on the backdrop and everyone can create their own puppet.
For the first group, have students create the stage or scene for the puppet show. For instance, if the class decided that the playground is where bullying happens most often, then students should draw or paint images of the jungle gym, the sandbox, the swings, trees, etc. Next, create the stage by setting a rectangular table on its side on the floor and covering it with the illustration, taping the butcher paper to the table. If you don't have an extra table in the classroom, tape the illustration to the front of two desks pushed together.
In the mean time, let the second group create puppets using the paper lunch sacks as the base. Encourage them to get as creative as possible using a variety of materials to develop their characters. For example, they could use yarn for hair, buttons for eyes and tissue paper for lips.
Finally, put it into action! Consider inviting other classes to visit and watch your performance. Be sure to take turns with speaking roles, so that all children who want the chance can act out a problem and a solution to the bullying that happens at your school.